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Daily Glean: NY Times examines unique world of Minnesota politics

David Carr article creates blogger buzz. Also: lots of political fireworks for the Fourth.

Former Twin Citian David Carr takes on the unique character of Minnesota politics in the New York Times: “In terms of process, Minnesota is deeply married to the precinct caucus approach, which means the grass roots flourish and frequently overwhelm would-be kingmakers. The state’s system of public financing means that anybody who gets organized enough to be in a race will have the wherewithal to campaign. And perhaps most important, Minnesota has same-day registration, which means that a walk-up vote can tilt an election, as it did when Governor Ventura won,” the Times’ media writer says.

His article has prompted some interesting discussions on the web, such as this one on the community blog Metafilter, where commentors expand on Carr’s points, discuss the unusual alliance that is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and opine that, in the illustration accompanying Carr’s piece, it appears the Lizard People actually did win the latest Senate race.

While we’re on the topic of the Lizard People, it’s interesting to compare Norm Coleman and Al Franken’s relationship with the Minnesota-based citizen journalist site The UpTake. As the Minnesota Daily reported on July 1, in what was literally the last moments of the Coleman campaign, Coleman staffer Tom Erickson decided to kick an UpTake reporter out of the presser; MinnPost’s own David Brauer further reported that Erickson derided the reporter’s Capitol-issued press credentials as “cutesy” and “homemade.” Franken, in the meanwhile, has not only credited The UpTake for its extensive coverage of the election but recently thanked the organization, calling it an “unbelievable, great service” and claiming it ruined his vacation when he could not stop watching its coverage during a recent break from campaigning.

Minnesotans traveled to Wisconsin to stock up on fireworks for the July 4 weekend (much to the annoyance of local police). However, if they were looking for a firework called “Run, Hadji, Run,” they were disappointed. Jeff Strickler from the Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) asked that this particular firework, which includes an image of Uncle Sam tugging on the beard of a man wearing a turban and an image of a Stealth Bomber flying over a group of men on camelback, be pulled.

In more CAIR news, conservative groups continue to attempt to make political hay out of Ellison’s relationship with the group. The latest volley comes from an organization called Americans Against Hate, which Wikipedia identifies as having been founded by Republican activist Joe Kaufman. The organization is circulating a petition to have Ellison removed from the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force (CASTF), citing examples of Ellison’s relationships with organizations that the group holds to be anti-Semitic. “To this day, Ellison has yet to denounce anything concerning these groups, anti-Semitic or otherwise,” the petition claims. A close look at the Americans Against Hate site shows it to be similarly concerned with Muslim groups, and the site identifies the organization as a “terrorism watchdog group.” CASTF is a congressional caucus, and Ellison’s comment about joining it, published on his web page, is that the task force “embodies the ideals and principles that have guided and shaped my life.”

In today’s sports news: Twin pitcher Nick Blackburn was passed over for the American League’s All-Star Game team, but he isn’t complaining, while Joe Mauer is going back for his third time. “As long as they allow me, I’ll keep going back as many times as I can,” Mauer is quoted as saying by the Pioneer Press.

There are a few things you don’t want to show up at your July 4 celebrations. A meat-eating amphibious reptile, for example. A 3½-foot-long alligator showed up at one Eagan party. Also undesirable: A guy with a gun and a fireworks-induced rage, which seems to have been what prompted the Saturday night shooting of a 14-year-old on St. Paul’s West Side.